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10 Tips to Successfully Breastfeed your Newborn

Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for newborns and offers lifelong health benefits for both mom and baby. However, it requires commitment, patience, and the right techniques to be successful. Use this guide to learn the keys to establishing a good breastfeeding routine!


Prepare During Pregnancy

  1. Attending a quality breastfeeding class is a perfect way to learn more about proper breastfeeding techniques such as different holds, obtaining a good latch and overcoming obstacles. Taking a short class will also greatly increase your confidence going into postpartum and allow you to ask a professional any questions you may have prior to getting started. You will not only learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding but also ways to prepare and set yourself up for a successful breastfeeding journey!

  2. There are a few holds for breastfeeding that are commonly used among mothers. Once you and baby find your groove, feel free to choose which ever works best for the both of you! The cradle hold is a great starting point for learning exactly how you and baby can work in tandem to get the perfect latch.


Woman is holding an infant in both arms to her breast. Baby is nursing from the left breast as mom supports  baby with left arm
Mother supports baby with arm that is on the same side as breast being used to nurse

There is also the football hold, which gives you an easy way to position your baby against your breast while getting a clear view of your baby’s face.



A mother holding her baby to breast feed in football position on her right side
Put your baby's head near your right nipple and support baby's back and legs under your right arm

The Laid back position is great for establishing a deeper latch or slowing your milk flow if you have a heavy let down. No matter which hold you choose, remember to always bring baby to your breast, keep your back as straight as possible. Bending over to baby will result in back and shoulder pains over time.



Woman is leaning back in a laid back breastfeeding position with baby in both arms as baby breastfeeds
Lean back on a pillow, with your baby's stomach against yours.

3. When deciding to breastfeed your baby, it is always best to have a support system. Whether it is your partner, a family member or friend, discuss a breastfeeding plan that allows them to support you in ways you will need it. Lean on the help of others for meal preparation, cleaning, diaper changes etc. so that you have more time to focus on feeding baby.

Establish a Routine in the Early Days

4. In the early days with your newborn, prioritize nursing as soon as possible after birth to kickstart your breastfeeding relationship. Frequent nursing sessions in the beginning will help establish your milk supply.


5. Keep your newborn close in these precious first days and do as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. Skin-to-Skin contact helps regulate the infant's heart rate, breathing, and blood sugar levels. Additionally, skin-to-skin contact stimulates breastmilk production and facilitates breastfeeding. It is also a great way for you and baby to bond.


6. Rather than sticking to a rigid schedule, allow your baby to nurse on demand so you can respond to their natural hunger cues. By nursing on demand around the clock, you'll set yourself up for breastfeeding success by building a bountiful milk supply to nourish your growing baby. Master Proper Latching

7. Supporting babies neck, shoulders and back should allow them to tilt their head back and swallow easily. Always bring your baby to the breast and let them latch themselves. Avoid leaning your breast forward into your baby's mouth, as this can lead to poor attachment. Your babies mouth should be wide open and lips flanged outward to ensure proper suction and best comfortability for you. Once baby has began feed, check to see if you can hear swallowing. If you hear a clicking sound or feel pain, it would be best to de-latch and try again, as this indicates an improper latch.


Diagram of steps to ensure baby is properly latched to breast for breastfeeding
1. Align your nipple with babies nose. 2. Bring baby to breast as they widely open their mouth. 3. Ensure lips are flanged and their deep latch by listening for swallowing or clicking sounds


8. So how can you tell if your newborn has a tongue-tie? Look inside their mouth for a heart-shaped tongue, or one that appears notched or forked at the tip. You may also notice they have difficulty sticking their tongue out. Other signs of frustration with breastfeeding, poor latch, clicking noises while nursing, gagging or choking on milk, and low weight gain. Get in touch with an IBCLC for a proper diagnosis. Don’t fret - with a simple snip from the pediatrician, most babies go on to feed normally. The sooner this is addressed, the better for your little one’s feeding and speech abilities. Identify and Respond to Baby's Cues

9. Babies are always communicating with us, we just have to learn their language! Knowing your baby’s cues and understanding what your little one needs in each moment will help build your confidence as a parent. It also continues to build on that special bond you have with your baby. 

There are a few general cues to look for to tell if you baby is hungry:

*Smacking and licking lips  

*They may start to root, turning their head as if searching for the breast or bottle. 

*You may also notice them bringing hands to mouth, sucking on their fists or tongue in anticipation. 

*Fussing squirming or bobbing their head in search of the breast. 

*Crying is a late hunger cue, which occurs if you have waited too long to feed your baby. Try to catch earlier cues to keep baby settled and content.

Make it easy and Don't Struggle in Silence!

10. Breastfeeding takes patience and practice, but you can overcome challenges with education, support, and persistence. Reach out to lactation consultants or support groups in your area if you need help.

Get a nice portable shelf or storage cart for your breastfeeding spot. This can store your wipes, snacks, water, diapers, breast pads, breastfeeding pillow etc all in arms reach! It is a perfect time saver and stress reliever during those night feeds. With commitment, you can give your baby the best start through breastfeeding.




Taylor Mathis, MPH

Doula and Certified Lactation Consultant

Houston, TX



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